“I Am Jack Bogle’s Worst Nightmare. I Am His Younger Self. I Am the Honest Jack, the Loving Jack, the Smart Jack. You are the Goon Who Whispers in Jack’s Ear: ‘You Are Corrupted. You Are Old. You Smell. I Own You Today, Bad Jack.’”

Set forth below is the text of a comment that I recently posted to another blog entry at this site:

Rob, have you ever met your “good friend” John Bogle? Ever corresponded with him? Do you have any indication that he, or any of the others whose names you drop, have ever heard of you or your quixotic campaign?

I’ve “met” Jack in lots of different way, Curious.

I’ve “met” him by reading his books. Do you know what it takes to write a book? I do. It takes sweating blood if you do it right. When I read Jack’s book, I could see the blood on the pages where he did the sort of work you have to do to connect with people. I learned important things from reading Jack’s book. And, yes, you can bet your last dollar that that’s a form of “meeting.” Jack put in the effort needed to connect with me in his book and he succeeded and I learned something and that’s magic. Yes, we met when I read his book. We met and we spent a good amount of quality time together. And it was magic. And I won’t ever forget that.

And of course we had other “meetings.” I saw his happiness and I saw his pain in my “interactions” with him on the boards and in our e-mail “correspondence.” You don’t think that the joy that Jack takes in the good work he has done doesn’t come through in his interactions on the Bogleheads Forum and on the Vanguard Diehards forum before that? It comes through loud and clear to me, Curious. You don’t think I can detect the pain he is going through when Rob Bennett shows up and he has to break all the normal rules he follows because this Rob Bennett fellow is a younger version of himself and this Rob Bennett fellow is a young whippersnapper that is upsetting all the old apple-carts (“How did I get so old?” Jack ask himelf) and Jack feels that he now needs to play the role of the old gray fart that he used to do battle with back in the days when he had a bit more spring in his step?

I have a chapter in my book titled “Jack Bogle Started Out As a Little Boy.” That’s the story here, Curious. Jack is not a big building that kids visit on field trips. He is not a dusty photograph. He is not an image or an idea. Heaven help us all, he is not a Goon (perhaps in part, but certainly not in whole). Jack Bogle is a freakin’ human being. You do him a great disservice when you treat him as something other than that, as this weird presence that is the first being on Planet Earth that is not capable of Making a Mistake, this Severe Authority who speaks to us from Mount Olympus and Who Must Never Be Questioned and Who Knows All and who speaks with much authority and pomposity and who possesses no sense of humor at all. Jack Bogle is not Mel Lindauer!

He’s a freakin’ human being, one of the mistake makers, Curious. Just as you are when you remember what it was like to be a little boy with dreams and worries and hopes and love in your heart and not this Powerful Goon Presence. Jack is a mistake maker. He is a mistake maker who went to the big city and who had a big impact and who got talked into getting on the bad path and who knows in his heart today that he needs to find his way back to the good place but who doesn’t have too many true friends anymore, who are the only kind who care about you enough to help you back to the good place and not quite so much about how many coins they can trick out of you with their flattery.

Jack knows who I am. Jack wouldn’t have went running to Linduaer is he didn’t know who I was. Jack wouldn’t have been afraid to stand on a stage with me if he didnt know who I was. Jack wouldn’t have been afraid to respond to Rob Arnott’s e-mail if he didn’t know who I was. Jack wouldn’t have risked huge financial liabilities and a long prison sentence if he didn’t know who I was. Give me a friggin’ break.

I am Jack’s worst nightmare. I am his younger self. I am the honest Jack, the loving Jack, the smart Jack, the Jack who Jack wishes he could be today. You are the Goon who whispers in Jack’s ear: “You can never be that young Jack again! You are corrupted. You are old. You smell. I own you today, bad Jack. You will do what I say and you won’t ask questions. Mel will tell you to jump and you will ask Mel how high and you will humiliate yourself, Old Jack. You are a Goon’s plaything today, Old Jack, and don’t ever forget if you don’t want another whipping!”

Jack knows who I am because I am the Young Jack trying to take him back to a world that he worries is lost to him forever, the world of Young Jack and the world of honestly and the world of caring for your readers and the world of intelligence and the world of learning and the world of growth and the world of disassociating yourself from Goons because of your repulsion to the smell of them.

He pines for Old Jack. And he feels that he is not up to being Young Jack ever again. And he is wrong about that. But who could blame him for his confusion when he has slobbering Goons like you whispering in his ear?

Bill Bernstein is the same. Larry Swedroe is the same. Rick Ferri is the same. Wade Pfau is the same.

They ALL want to be clean again, Curious.

That’s my secret edge here.

It’s not really a fair game, is it?

Good luck going up against all my fine human friends, smelly Goon!

Does Jack know Jack? That’s the real question here. Does old, smelly Jack remember the young, smart loving Jack? He signals me even in his most fearful acts that he does.

We’ll see.

Rob

Comments

  1. Sensible Investor says

    So, in short, you are saying that Rob Bennett is everything Jack Bogle is said to be and more. Do you plan on starting a mutual fund company?

  2. Rob says

    That’s a fair way of putting it, Sensible. Valuation-Informed Indexing is what Jack had intended Buy-and-Hold to be. All of the research needed to get things right was not available to Jack in his early days. So he got one important piece of the puzzle horribly wrong. I fixed the error for him in my development of the Valuation-Informed Indexing concept. Now we have something that really works.

    I expect to work with Jack and with all the other Buy-and-Holders. We don’t need to start any new funds. There are lots of good funds already in place. We need to get accurate and honest information about what the last 33 years of peer-reviewed research says out to every middle-class investor. Then all the existing funds will work as they should. Stock investing risk will be reduced by nearly 70 percent and everyone will be able to retire many years sooner. A win/win/win/win/win.

    My feeble Normal brain is not able to imagine any possible downside. Has you superior Goon brain been able to come up with anything?

    Rob

  3. Sensible Investor says

    Stay the course, Rob. Buy and Hold is working for me. It’s worked for millions of other investors.

  4. Rob says

    Risk is dramatically increased when valuations are high. We agree re that much, right?

    So how the heck is it “Staying the Course” to fail to lower your stock allocation when that happens? Huh? To Stay the Course in a meaningful way you MUST be willing to lower your stock allocation when prices rise. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t say that you favor Buy-and-Hold and that you also favor Staying the Course. I mean, come on.

    And there is now 33 years of peer-reviewed research based on 140 years of historical return data showing that Buy-and-Hold has never worked for a single long-term investor. It ALWAYS increases risk dramatically. It ALWAYS lowers return dramatically. That’s good how?

    The people invested in Bernie Madoff’s fund felt that it was working until all their money disappeared. It’s the long-run that matters, Sensible.

    That’s my sincere take re these terribly important issues, in any event.

    Rob

  5. Anonymous says

    Rob,

    If you think you can predict the swings in the market, go ahead and have at it. Buy-hold-rebalance has proven to be very successful for millions of Americans while market timing schemes have destroyed people. You are free to invest how you want, but don’t try to force feed your smelly stinky garbage on those that don’t want any part of it.

  6. Rob says

    I’ll continue to post honestly re safe withdrawal rates and many other critically important investment-related topics, Anonymous.

    I naturally wish you the best of luck with whatever investing strategies you elect to pursue.

    My best wishes.

    Rob

  7. Anonymous says

    “You smell”

    Rob,

    That is a comment more in line with a bunch of 10 year olds on a play ground.

  8. Rob says

    Everybody notices the smell, Anonymous.

    It’s not going to go away until as a society we work up the courage to so something about it.

    Fair enough?

    Rob

  9. Trebor Martin says

    Rob

    You seem to post on everything BUT safe withdrawal rates. It would be refreshing to see a post that actually addressed investment issues rather than your petty vendettas.

  10. Rob says

    We all want to see discussion of substantive issues,Trebor. That’s a universal.

    We cannot have it until we deal with the Goon problem. Jack Bogle is not posting honestly today. Bill Bernstein is not posting honestly today. Larry Swedroe is not posting honestly today. Scott Burns is not posting honestly today. Wade Pfau is not posting honestly today.

    We need to turn that around. We need to get prison sentences announced for you Goons. It’s all downhill from that point forward.

    Do you see?

    Rob

  11. Anonymous says

    Jack Bogle is not posting honestly today. Bill Bernstein is not posting honestly today. Larry Swedroe is not posting honestly today. Scott Burns is not posting honestly today. Wade Pfau is not posting honestly today.

    I can see these names swirling around in your head in an infinite loop you just can’t turn off.

  12. Rob says

    It’s shocking that people of that stature would post dishonestly on issues that affect the financial futures of millions of middle-class people, Anonymous. It’s something that we all need to work together to address by the close of business today.

    I had community members at the Bogleheads Forum tell me: “Rob, everything you say about the peer-reviewed research makes perfect sense. But I don’t understand why the biggest names in the field say the exact opposite.” People are accustomed to seeing honesty permitted and even celebrated in all other fields of human endeavor. It is hard for a lot of us to accept how corrupt the investing advice field has become in the Buy-and-Hold Era.

    I would like to see all those people doing good work again.

    And I have a funny feeling that that is what they would like to see too.

    Are you able to come up with any plan that does not call for prison sentences for you Goons that gets us from the dark place where we all are today to the wonderful place where we all long to be tomorrow?

    The best that I can come up with is that we all should work together to SHORTEN the prison sentences from what they would be if we did not open the internet to honest posting until after the next price crash. Does that idea make sense to you?

    Rob

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